Lessons from The Who

Last week my husband took me to a fantastic concert—a performance of The Who on their 50th anniversary tour! As we made our way to our seats, I joked with him that we should buy a t-shirt to support their retirement fund as they had definitely been working hard for a long time!

Touring cannot be easy and doing it well, like The Who, must be incredibly difficult. They are so talented that you can feel it, see it, and hear it for miles! Although I already was a fan, my appreciation grew by leaps and bounds as I saw them rock the night away and give it their all.

Sitting in the audience, you can feel the energy and exertion of their performance. While they may not be young kids anymore, their energy and commitment really mattered. It made me think about how much effort I put into my day and that while I may have limitations, it makes a difference that I am ready and willing to work hard.

For example, Pete Townsend was sick and had lost his voice. Singing was clearly painful, but he performed vocals on a song and the crowd went crazy with support and enthusiasm. While I’m not a performer, my efforts to live with RA make a difference in getting through each day.

The Who also reminded me that experience matters. They have adapted songs to their strengths as they have aged, but also learned how to really work and engage an audience. In my life with RA, I have also learned to adapt through experience and tools. I try to use my strengths for persistence and endurance to manage life with the disease.

Maybe it’s silly, but it made me so happy to see such a great band performing with such excellence. You could tell they love what they do and enjoy entertaining their fans. They played a long encore of at least 30 minutes and I got the feeling that they could go all night long.

Here I was, tired from a long day at work and feeling achy, but my spirits were so lifted by their performance that I was dancing in my seat with joy! How could I dwell on my aches and pains when two 70+ year olds were seriously rocking out? How could I not appreciate their effort and pure talent?

It’s true that some days I have trouble getting up in the morning. But it’s also true that fighting the good fight every day by getting up and living life (even when I’d rather stay in bed!) makes a difference. It means I am not giving in and that with some effort I can live a quality life.

So I am thankful for The Who and their joyful endurance. I’ll always remember these lessons when I listen to a song and remember how they belted out their concert with complete bravado. What else could one want in a life well lived than to live to the fullest, feeling the satisfaction of your effort?

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